The city of Los Angeles (also known simply as L.A., and nicknamed the "City of Angels") is the most populous city in California. Located on a broad basin in Southern California, the city is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, valleys, forests, beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean, and nearby desert.
The metropolitan area is the second-most populous in the United States and home to over 17 million people who hail from all parts of the globe. The metropolitan area is spread across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and parts of San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Ventura County.
Los Angeles is an important center of culture, medicine, agriculture, business, finance, energy, aerospace, science, food processing, media, international trade, and tourism. International tourists regard Los Angeles as most famous for "Hollywood," but a long-running trend in favor of outsourcing of film and television production has critically undermined the sector to the point where entertainment and media employ only about 120,000 people in the entire metro area (and most of them work in Burbank or Culver City, not Hollywood). Many major motion picture deals and premieres still occur in Los Angeles, but the vast majority of those films are actually shot elsewhere. However, some post-production, editing, promotion, distribution, and archiving work still occurs in Los Angeles. In addition, L.A. remains a major center for production of television shows and television commercials, as well as music recordings.
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Nearly all L.A. first-time visitors will want to visit Hollywood, Universal City (specifically Universal Studios), and Venice Beach as their top priorities within the City of Los Angeles itself. Century City, Downtown Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, Griffith Park and the Los Angeles River bridges just east of downtown are all also worth a look. They have all been used for filming a huge number of famous movies, television shows, and television commercials, and will seem slightly familiar for that reason.
However, many other landmarks generally associated with L.A. are technically not located in the City of Los Angeles, but are in adjacent cities or unincorporated areas. For example, Rodeo Drive is found in Beverly Hills; the Santa Monica Pier, the Third Street Promenade, and Santa Monica Beach are in Santa Monica; studio facilities for NBC, Disney, and Warner Bros. are all found in Burbank; the Sony Pictures Entertainment studio is in Culver City; and Marina del Rey is an unincorporated area under county jurisdiction. Malibu is about half an hour's drive west of Santa Monica. Disneyland, Newport Beach, and South Coast Plaza are all located over an hour's drive to the southeast in Orange County.